Lifting Covid restrictions must not be done too hastily: Health Ministry

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Business organizations and members of the Saeima opposition are calling for the removal of the Covid certificate requirement in public places, as Lithuania and Estonia are planning. However, Latvia's Health Ministry says medical experts have asked that decisions are not made too hastily, Latvian Radio reported February 3.

Ministry of Health stresses that it is necessary to rely on medical advice and that the restrictions must not be lifted all at once. The ministry's parliamentary secretary Ilmārs Dūrītis said that the Omicron's peak should pass very soon.

"A lot of people are sick now, we're at the peak of morbidity. Speaking figuratively, if someone is in bed with a fever, they don't get up and go outside without wearing a scarf at that time. I understand there is a wish [for lifting restrictions] but we must hold on for a while," Dūrītis said.

The Ministry of Health, like other sectoral ministries, follows decisions in other countries. According to Dūrītis, there is an understanding that there should be no delay and measures that do not make sense should be discontinued.

“What I want to emphasize again is not in the interests of the Ministry of Health, of the Minister or of any political force to keep these restrictions that are unnecessary, meaningless. As soon as the epidemiological situation allows it, of course, these measures need to be reviewed and abandoned,” he said.

Several opposition MPs are calling for the immediate abolishment of Covid-19 certificates in public places. They also ask for an end to the requirement for face masks for pupils. Former Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča said:

"If someone argues that the morbidity continues to rise and it's not the right time to make these decisions, then I guess it is never the right time to do it. In Denmark, when they decided to cancel certificates, the incidence increased. Denmark's vaccination coverage is very high, above 90%, but, according to data published last Friday, they are in the first place in Covid-19. It didn't bother them to take this reasonable step," the politician said.

The Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is also calling for the QR codes and 'green' or 'red' zones to be left behind, as reported earlier by LSM.

The views also differ in the coalition. A quicker review of the restrictions is being demanded by the New Conservative Party, as well as the Ministry of Economics. The overall plan is to adopt the new conditions by the end of February when the state of emergency expires. In the meantime, members of the Saeima's opposition promise to submit a proposal every week until the result is achieved.

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